North Bridge Flute Academy


GRADE 5

Fauré – Berceuse
Oginski – Polonaise
Fauré – Sicilienne
Telemann – Sonata in F
Marais – Le Basque
Quantz – Sonata in E minor – Vivace
Delibes – Morceau de Concours

GRADE 6

Telemann - Air L'italiene
Donjon – Pan
Fauré – Morceau de Concours
Hoffmeister – Sonata in G – 1st Mvt, Allegro Assai
Gaubert – Madrigal
Rabboni - Sonata (No. 3) in E
CPE Bach – Sonata in E minor Mvt 2, Allegro
Rabboni – Sonata (No. 8) in C
Gossec – Tambourin

GRADE 7

Rabboni – Sonata (No. 7) in F
Roussel – Mr. de la Pejaudie

GRADE 8

Roussel – Pan



 

GRADE 8, Lesson #1
Performance Video: Roussel – Joueurs de Flute – Pan


         
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GRADE 8, Lesson #1
Teaching Notes Video: Roussel – Joueurs de Flute – Pan

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About ROUSSEL – JOUEURS de FLÛTE – PAN

Albert Roussel (1869 – 1937) was one of the most prominent French composers in the years between the two World Wars. Orphaned when he was a child, he spent 7 years in the navy before turning his eye to composing music. It was this period at sea and the journeys to exotic places that would go on to inspire many of his compositions. Initially heavily influenced by the music of Debussy and Ravel, in his later years he turned his attentions to neoclassicism.

From 1894 onwards he actively studied music and taught to help pay his bills. Among his students were Erik Satie and Edgar Varèse! His own teacher was the grand-father of Henri Dutilleux.

In the first World War he was an ambulance driver and afterwards he bought a summer house in Normandy, where he would spend much of his time composing.

Whilst the music of Roussel most definitely has its own style, there are heavy influences of the French impressionistic composers, along with Stravinsky and even on occasions, Jazz.

THE PIECE

Joueurs de flûte (The Flute Players), Op. 27, was written in 1924 and is perhaps the most popular work for flute by Albert Roussel. A set of four pieces, they can be performed as a group or individually.

Each of the four pieces is named after a flute playing character from fictional literature and is dedicated to a flutist of Roussel's time.

'Pan' is named after the half-goat, half-man god of nature in Greek mythology, who is often depicted playing the flute, and after whom the pan flute is named. The piece employs the Dorian mode (with flattened thirds and sevenths) that was much used in ancient Greece.
'Pan' is dedicated to Marcel Moyse (the dedicatee of many other musical works).

In this piece, the multi-faceted characteristics of Pan need to be explored and conveyed. Pan was an amorous creature, at times belligerent, often ridiculed for his looks and in many ways lost. It would appear that he could switch violently between moods and had immense pangs of self-doubt accentuated by confusion as to exactly what or who he was.

In other moments, he was easy going and without a care in the world. Some might say that he almost had schizophrenic tendencies! He didn’t easily fit in.

Roussel thoughtfully and at times often brilliantly writes sections featuring all of the above facets of Pan.

Bar 1. The piece starts calmly and perhaps Pan is playing his pipes, seemingly without a care in the world. To this extent the sound that is produced in the opening few bars should be quite free and certainly not pinched. If the muscles around the lips are more relaxed and the aperture between the lips is more open, then it follows that it will be necessary to gently increase the speed of the air stream leaving the body. As the D in the third octave is the first note of the piece, it will help if you can plan your breath well in advance and physically anticipate the required energy to enable the note to speak easily. You might also wish to try an initial articulation with the tongue pulling back gently between the lips, thus creating a very soft ‘popping’ noise similar to the sound of a tap lightly dripping into a bucket of water.

Bar 2. Already, by introducing the interval of a semitone or half step, Roussel indicates a shift of mood in Pan, to something of a darker nature. There is a sense of anger in the writing and the interval of a 9th from the low A at the end of Bar 3, to the B flat at the start of Bar 4 should sound painfully questioning (as in ‘why me?’). The slow chromaticism in Bar 5, within diminuendo conveys sadness, whilst the interval of an augmented 4th in the last beat of the bar, suggests a more mischievous character.

Bar 7 marks a very decisive shift in personality, Pan seemingly becoming more irritated and even cross with his critics. Reaching a climax at Bar 14, through to Bar 18, Pan gradually appears to retreat, perhaps in sadness. The 3rd octave A flat with an accent in Bar 14 is potentially hazardous. This is a naturally sharp note on a flute and you should take care not only to ensure that it is in tune but that also, with an accent, the timbre doesn’t become thin and unpleasant. This note should sound heavy. Try playing this note with the addition of the 3rd and 4th fingers of the right hand. ‘T’ or ‘D’ as an articulation will be too pointed and potentially explosive. Try ‘DAAH’.

From Bar 19 through to Bar 29 the goat part of Pan is very much in evidence, from head butts in Bar 19 to Bar 25 through to the ungainly movement of the goat from Bar 26 to Bar 29. The following three bars are a bridge to the next section, which initially shows Pan as his most gentle and possibly amorous being. The return to the awkward goat motif in Bars 38 and 39 should be played with enchantment and ease.

Bar 40. Pan the amorous musician returns, but this time with an element of frustration. He plays music in an attempt to turn lust into love in his life, but is always spurned. As always, be careful not to rush the heavily beamed groups of notes.

There is a sense of failure or rejection in Bars 48 and 49.

However, Pan returns to his old self again in Bar 50, and from here to the end of the piece all we need to express is his omnipresent joy of music.




 
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